Assignments

Exercises to help your students find inspiration for their work.

In the essay, “Writing Good Bad Poetry” (Poets & Writers Magazine, page 39), Mike Chasar describes the challenges of writing timely, news-inspired poetry. Choose a recent news story and write a poem about it. Be prepared to discuss the ease and difficulty of such an assignment as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the poem.

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Assignments

Exercises to help your students find inspiration for their work.

In “Bride in Beige: A Poet’s Approach to Memoir” (Poets & Writers Magazine, page 33), Mark Doty writes of his experience in building memoir out of memory. He notes that while “plenty of the past is unclear,” certain images remain “crystalline”—such as his sister’s beige suit in her wedding photograph. Draft a poem that begins with a similarly clear image of one object, keepsake, or photograph from your past. Try describing the one item in detail, and then see if the larger truth or importance of the item emerges as you further develop the poem.

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